This chapter critiques the roles of different forms of representation of practice as part of an institutional change process. It discusses how these representations can be used both to design and to share learning activities at the various levels of decision-making in a university. We illustrate our arguments with empirical data gathered on change processes associated with an institution-wide change programme: the introduction of a new virtual learning environment (VLE). In particular, we describe a case study of the introduction of the VLE tools in a business course. We focus on two particular forms of representations to describe the essence of the innovation: a pedagogical pattern and a visual learning design. We argue that pedagogical patterns and learning design have emerged as parallel approaches to describing practice in recent years. Despite their very different origins, both provide complementary representations, which emphasize different aspects of the practice being described. We are attempting to combine these approaches. We briefly outline the Open University Learning Design initiative, of which this work is part, and describe its key underpinning philosophies. We believe our approach provides a vehicle for enabling a better articulation of design principles and the discussion of issues concerning the re-use of educational resources and activities
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